I recall a time when I made a tough decision to give up a desire that I’d been passionately pursuing for years. God revealed to me that it wasn’t glorifying to Him and that it had become a hollow addiction that was sucking the life out of me. It was brutally painful to let go, and as I was tumbling into the throes of self-pity—what did God do? I crossed paths with someone who had real problems! My first thought was, “Ughhh, really, God??” But this person was hurting so badly, I couldn’t just walk away. As I began to help this other person, I was able to be transparent with him about my own struggle. Then—I saw him experience God’s love through me—and unspeakable joy began to fill me.
As I felt joy wash over me, it made me realize that God had much more goodness to give me than the empty desire I’d been pursuing. I wish I’d figured this out sooner!!!
We all have passionate desires for things that will NEVER satisfy us—drugs, work, career, food, bitterness, laziness, selfishness, another person, money, etc. And, walking away is always painful! But God gives us many tools to help us walk away—prayer, studying His Word, fellowship with believers, falling in love with Him, etc. However, most of these exercises are focused inward, and we must ALSO focus outward so that what we’re internalizing is being worked out. This takes the focus off us and helps us fulflill that second great command to “love others.” Lessening someone else’s pain, can lessen our pain because we are taking our focus off ourselves and placing it where it should be—on God and others!
Our wrong desires are powerful and deceptive forces, and we must ask God to give us the courage to walk away and the strength to keep walking. While we are walking, we can help others become conquerors too. It’s an amazing gift! God’s precious promise in Romans is: “…in all these things (referring to trials), we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37) When we live as “more than a conqueror,” in light and truth, we’re unafraid for others to see our scars and we can give the same hope to them that God gives to us!
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